Pantry Power – tapping into Nana know-how

7th May 2013 | Nicky Davis

Back in the day, as if by magic, our Nanas could always reach into the pantry and pull out a jar of home-made sauce, jam or chutney that she had prepared many months before, knowing that the contents would be nutritious and fresh-tasting. She also rolled up her sleeves to make her own bread, and got the elbow grease going with home-made cleaning products that were cheap to make and free of nasty chemicals.

Thankfully for today’s generation these skills needn’t be lost arts as Nana’s knowledge is being harvested again in the form of Pantry Power, a new series of Nana Technologies, good old-fashioned home cooking classes organised by Kaipatiki Project, the environment centre of the North Shore.

Pantry Power classes are all taught by local mothers and grandmothers who are passionate about passing on traditional skills, and practiced in the art of blending the thriftiness and economy of yesteryear with a sprinkle of today’s gourmet-flair and cool creativity. For that extra homely touch some classes are taught in the tutor’s own kitchen.

This winter topics will include making preserves such as relishes, bottling tomatoes, preserving lemons and making limoncella. Participants will also learn to make bread and pasta, including an Italian winter feast masterclass with tutor Raffaela Delmonte who has even taught the All Blacks to make pasta!

“Nana-Technologies isn’t just a catchy name”, says tutor and award-winning author, cook and gardener Dee Pigneguy, “it really sparks people’s imagination because it harks back to the days when being able to provide for your family’s nutritional needs was as simple as going into the backyard for your greens and fruit, or sharing eggs across the fence with your neighbours.”

“With the price of food these days, many people are probably wishing they had listened to their nanas when it comes to being economical and making ends meet”, she says, “these classes are aimed at filling that gap and inspiring a new generation to become a bit more health-conscious, thrifty and self-sufficient”.

Bookings are essential as places are limited (cost from $20 per person with early bird specials available for all classes) and can be made online at, by phoning 482 1172 or emailing [email protected].

Kaipatiki Project is able to operate due to the generosity of our funders and supporters

Foundation North Ministry for the Environment Kaipatiki Local Board Ubiquity Environment Hubs Aotearoa